Peak Forest Tramway and Cromford and High Peak Railway

Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield: ARCUS, 2009

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Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield: ARCUS (2009) Peak Forest Tramway and Cromford and High Peak Railway [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000003

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Introduction

A Heritage Audit was undertaken for the Peak Forest Tramway and the Cromford and High Peak Railway by ARCUS, in conjunction with Derbyshire County Council.

Peak Forest

The Peak Forest Railway was opened in 1796 to link the limestone quarries at Doveholes with Bugworth Canal Basin 6 miles to the northeast. It was one of the earliest mineral railways in Britain to link with an inland waterway system and to use iron rails. The route, engineered by Benjamin Outram, incorporates the Stoddart Tunnel at Chapel en le Frith, which has been identified as the second oldest railway tunnel in the world.

The Cromford and High Peak Railway opened in 1830 and was one of the earliest in Britain. It measured 33 miles in length and crossed the White Peak of Derbyshire, rising to a height of over 1200ft by means of a series of inclined planes with fixed steam engines. The level central section was created by the engineer Josias Jessop, with huge embankments and narrow cuttings. Wagons were pulled along this section initially by horses and later by steam engines.

The project was divided into two stages, an archive search and a baseline field survey. The archive search collated available information from local, regional and national archive sources. The walkover survey involved the use of proforma record sheets and digital photography. A total of 63 sites were identified along the Peak Forest Tramway, with 418 sites along the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

The intention of the survey was to produce a consolidated body of data to inform the future presentation and long term management of each route. To aid this process and to act as a primary archive, all new sites identified have been added to the Derbyshire County Council Sites and Monuments Record. The survey information is linked to OS grid references, and has the potential to form the basis for a GIS system.

Following on from the ALSF project, a Conservation Management Plan was produced for the Peak Forest Tramway with funding from Derbyshire County Council.